Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cards On The Table

Ok, I'm just going to come right out and say it: It's unclear to me how anyone "honored by the name of Christian" can be "pro-choice" in any scenario other than the most extreme situations.  (e.g., ectopic pregnancies, other circumstances where the mother's actual, physical life would be at stake if the child were carried to viability, etc...)

When I look at the appalling failure of mainstream Protestantism to speak clearly and decisively on the issue of abortion, it makes me physically ill.  As Christians, we should be the first ones to the table, the loudest ones, the ones with the most endurance, the most strength, the most love. 

"I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly."  ~John 10:10

Everyone, even the most ardent pro-aborts out there, in their most honest moments, knows that terminating a pregnancy is terminating a life.  Scientifically, there really is no question about this.  Individuals can debate the ethics all over the place of when it is or is not morally permissable to terminate a life in the womb - never, only before a heartbeat develops, only before brainwaves develop, only before pain is felt, only before quickening, only before viability, only before ability to reason develops - but the point is, terminating a pregnancy is terminating a life.

As Christians, as followers of, disciples of, witnesses to the One who comes so that they - we - all of us - may have life and have it abundantly, we must be extraordinarily careful, and extraordinarily justified, in situations that require the termination of life.  This is the premise behind the development of Augustine's Just War Theory, it is the premise behind Christian opposition to the death penalty, and it ought to be the premise behind all Christian opposition to abortion. 

But opposition to abortion isn't just about preserving the physical life of a baby.  Look at the second half of the verse from John: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  This is the part for moms.  It is the part for husbands and boyfriends and grandparents and friends and teachers and employers and, sad to say, clergy.  It is what Christians need to claim, promote, tell, remind, point out over and over and over again: whatever your problems are right now, whatever they might be in the future, whatever relationships will be strained or plans will have to be put on hold or inconveniences will have to be suffered because of this pregnancy, killing a child does not, in fact, improve the situation.  It may appear to right now, but at best, it is a Pyrrhic victory, because active participation in murder, or being complicit therein, will not lead to abundant life. 

As Christians, we need to say to moms, dads, and anyone else involved: "God desires life - abundant life - for your baby, and for you.  In Christ, and with the help of His followers, there is no problem that cannot be overcome, no relationship that cannot be repaired, no situation that cannot be redeemed.  Life may look bleak now, but it is often precisely in the darkest places that God shows up at His biggest and best."

And the reason we have to say this, loudly and clearly, over and over and over again, and honestly and sincerely mean it, every single time, is because it is true, and because for far too long, we haven't.  For far too long pro-abortion Christians have said (in effect), "Well, if you think there's no hope, then just do what you think is best.  We're behind you all the way."  And for far too long, pro-life Christians have said (in effect), "Whatever you do, don't kill that baby.  As for everything else, well, God be with you.  It'll all work out in the end!"  Neither is acceptable.

I firmly believe that the vast majority of women who have abortions do not, in their hearts of hearts, wish to do so.  I volunteered as a counselor for several years at a crisis pregnancy center and talked to plenty of women who were considering abortion.  Not one of them ever said to me, "I want to kill this child."  I heard plenty of, "I just want the whole thing to go away," "I don't know how I'm going to tell my parents," "My boyfriend is going to freak out," "I'll never be able to finish school," and so on.  It is my contention that most women who have abortions do so because they do not see any other solution to the specific problems that face them today.  I believe that most women considering abortion, if they were aware of and trusted financial, emotional, and other resources, would choose to carry the pregnancy to term and either parent or place for adoption.

As Christians, knowing that God desires abundant life for baby and mom, we have to be the first ones to back up those claims with concrete action.  That means that we have to visibly care for and love moms like crazy, starting at the most basic level and working our way up.  That means that if we have to sit with a newly-pregnant, scared-to-death mom, and hold her hand or give her a hug while she cries for a minute, or an hour, or a day then we do that.  And then we ask: Who do you need to tell?  Parents?  Boyfriend?  Husband?  What is going to happen when you tell them?  Will you be safe?  Do you need someone to come with you?  Do you have a safe place to live while you are pregnant?  After the baby is born?  How will you get to school?  Do you need a job?  Do you have a doctor?  Do you have health insurance?  Do you need: maternity clothes?  baby clothes?  other assorted baby "stuff"?  parenting classes?  a safe and supportive church environment? And on and on and on.

This is the latter part of the Good Samaritan story.  As Christians, we are not allowed to walk by on the other side of the road.  Nor are we allowed to look at the broken and bleeding man and announce that, "Man, crime has gotten really bad around here lately.  Where's the Roman Senate when you need them?  They oughta take action!" 

No.  No.  Jesus came that we may have life, and have it abundantly.  It is our job, as Christians, to live as though that is actually true - in what we say, in the causes we support, in how we ourselves live, and in how we treat others.  It is time for us to get it together.


Brian said...

You forget that most of the churches that either remain silent or implicitly support it by choosing insurance for their denomination that allows for 1st term abortions (wonder who that could be...) will absolutely be against things like the death penalty and war. The death of a criminal is outrageous, yet the death of an unborn child is a choice, afterall.

God bring them to repentance!

Brian said...

And I agree with your post whole-heartedly.

Elizabeth of Hungary said...

Heh. I didn't forget, I just didn't engage that angle of it. ;) (Well, I kinda did with references to Just War and death penalty...)

Don't worry, there's more coming. I'm pretty fired up about this topic right now, if you can't tell.

felicitouschick said...

Thank you lady--with you 100%!

Anonymous said...

I am with you as well. God gave us life. What a wonderful gift.

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